Ah yes, revision. I’ve been thinking a lot about revision because I have a few poems in the drawer (well, notebook) that are not quite done. Yes, life has gotten in the way. But also I have gotten in the way. The ongoing self-chatter that says, “You don’t have time for this” or “You won’t finish this.” I often fight these thoughts. But sometimes, I succumb to them.
The best way out of this kind of thinking is to give yourself a little task. What if I look over the verbs in my poem? Or What if I just sit here and read this poem out loud? Or What if I added a couple colors to this poem? A question or two that doesn’t feel too strenuous, too much in the realm of polish and finitude, can trick the brain into backing off so the heart can take over.
Brew some coffee or tea and try it with a project you have set aside for a little while. Peppermint—tea, gum, or essential oils—is a great scent to activate the mind and invite you to be alert and open to the creative process.
What happens when you allow yourself to engage without judgment with a work-in-progress? What ideas knock at the door?
Online Revision Course
Speaking of revision, May 3-28, 2021 I’m teaching an online course called “Radical Revision: Preparing Your Poems for Publication” for the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center’s 24PearlStreet. Twice a week, you’ll take poems through guided revision exercises and receive feedback from me and from a team of peers. The goal for the course is that you’ll have a packet of sparkly poems ready to send into the world. Here is more information about the course. And here is the direct link to the registration page.
I co-authored Low Budget Movie, a poetry chapbook with the amazing Kendra DeColo that is being released this June through Diode Editions, and pre-orders are open! If you’re interested, here is the direct link. We wrote this book together and revised it so many times we don’t remember who wrote what. It’s been kind of cool to see our voices blend like this. Years ago, we talked about this book as a dream, and now it is here.
Be well, and happy writing!